Albert García, a photojournalist for the newspaper El País, has been acquitted of the crime of resisting authority, of which he was accused by public prosecutors and for which he was tried a few days ago. The judge of Barcelona's criminal court number 8 writes in the sentence that there are "serious doubts" that the journalist and the police officer referred to by his number of 11,171 were involved in a struggle at any point, as the man in uniform maintained at the trial, and that "rather" it was "an officer of authority taking hold of a person in order to proceed with his arrest." Well, well, well: we have before us an obvious "lack of evidence." If you remember this is the famous case where a member of the Spanish National Police asserted that during the protests in Barcelona's Plaça Urquinaona following the verdicts in the pro-independence leaders trial, he was pushed by Albert and fell to the ground, leaving the officer with several lacerations on one hand.
But apart from the fact that what can't be, can't be, and furthermore is impossible, because Albert could never in his life manage to topple over a police officer who is trained to physically harass people, not even by pushing him with a bulldozer - and you just have to look at the physical build of the two of them - you also have to think that a photojournalist who carries very expensive equipment in his hands and backpack and knows that any possible knock would cost him a fortune, never in his life is going to decide to pretend he's a fairground Dodgem. Even if it's only because he doesn't want to go broke.
But as well, if you give me just a tiny moment longer you will see that that's not all. There are several videos of the interval when the events took place and in all of them it's clear - and I return to the court sentence - that there is "a loss of balance by the allegedly injured officer and a defensive position of the defendant", that "the officer of authority grabs the accused by the wrist and forearm” and ends up falling over. But the thing is that, in addition, the images also show that one of the police officer's colleagues who testified at the trial that he had seen the famous push, turned out to have his back turned to what happened. And to top it off, the terrible effects that this awful event were said to have caused to the hand of the officer, that day did not generate any medical report of injuries, nor was there any record of a visit to a doctor. In fact Mr 11,171 was working normally from that October 18th to the 25th and only then did he visit the doctor. This leads the judge to conclude that "the fact of continuing to work, taking part in a [policing] situation as complex as that of the trial, with the violence that occurred, is certainly incompatible with the injury described." Goodness gracious me, it is not very difficult to conclude that the policeman wasn't telling the truth, not when he laid his complaint about the events, nor in the trial, and neither were the police colleagues who testified in support of him. Does this sound familiar?
And now someone will say to me, “You see, the justice system works! The judge said that the photojournalist was right." Well, define what you mean by "it works". Because with all of this evidence which is obvious enough, the prosecution persisted in demanding that Albert should serve a year and a half in prison for two crimes of assault on an authority, one for events that never happened - as was confirmed by the court - and it was not until the end of the trial that the prosecutor dropped the prison demand for a fine in the other case. And the evidence of innocence, which I insist was overwhelming, already existed long before, and was in the prosecution's hands. There was no need for it to go anywhere near as far as it did. But, of course, it was a matter of teaching a lesson to all photojournalists who create a visual record of senseless brutality.
And thus, it is clear that what happened that night is that at a time when not much was happening, the police officer hit a young man who was on the ground, Albert took a picture if it, the policeman did not like having been caught out, and seven days later he invented a story that the prosecution bought into uncritically. And there is no more to it than that. And once again what should never have happened, happened. And, once again, nothing will happen as a result. As always. The policeman will possibly be decorated and may be given an additional payment for the services rendered, the prosecutors in the case will continue to do exactly the same job, and photojournalists, journalists and the general public will continue to suffer the effects of this fantastic democracy we have all made for ourselves together. Some more than others.